The new “public charge” rule will hurt immigrant families

Trump's cruel new regulation will hurt immigrant families -- Protect Immigrant FamiliesJoin us and allies across Allegheny County in the national drive to submit 100,000 comments before the Dec. 10 deadline to oppose the Trump public charge rule. Every comment is essential.

The Trump administration wants to block immigrant families from having a permanent, secure future in the United States and scare them away from seeking access to health care, nutrition, and housing programs. The proposed “public charge” rule would make—and has already made—immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs.

No longer would we be the country that serves as a beacon for the world’s dreamers and strivers. Instead, America’s doors would be open only to the highest bidder.

About the “public charge” test:

For over a hundred years, federal immigration services have used the “public charge” rule to identify people who may depend on long-term institutional care or on government cash assistance as their main source of financial support. If the government determines an immigrant applying for a visa or a green card is likely to become a “public charge,” that person can be refused permission to enter the U.S. or refused legal documentation (a green card). Refugees, asylees, survivors of domestic violence, and other protected groups aren’t subject to this test.

On October 10, the Trump Administration proposed to change the public charge test to exclude anyone who is likely to use work supports like health care, nutrition, and housing programs. The proposed test adds specific standards for income, health, age, and even English proficiency, and expands the forms of public assistance that the government will count in a “public charge” determination. Decades ago the government clarified that immigrant families can participate in essential programs that help them thrive and remain productive—without fear that doing so would harm their immigration case. They can no longer have that assurance if the Dept. of Homeland Security finalizes this rule.

The proposed public charge test will kill the American Dream:

The proposed test’s new standards essentially sort immigrants coming to this country for a better life into “desirables” and “undesirables”, severely limiting the ability of low-income people to enter the country legally. Some 94% of noncitizens who entered the U.S. without a green card have at least one characteristic that DHS could potentially weigh negatively in a public charge determination. These requirements go entirely against our country’s fundamental values, and would likely have blocked many of our ancestors from becoming Americans.

The proposed public charge test will hurt families:

One in four children in the United States has an immigrant parent. This proposed test is especially cruel to mixed-status families who will have a harder time staying unified or gaining permanent residency status for all members. As immigrants are denied the ability to live in the U.S., families will be separated and destabilized.

The proposed public charge test will harm the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians:

The proposal would make – and has already made – immigrants afraid to receive assistance that they or their family members are entitled to. This will increase hunger and poverty, particularly among the vulnerable – children, seniors, those with chronic health problems, and financially struggling households – groups that the proposed public charge test designates as less deserving of legal documentation. As families lose access to health insurance and assistance to buy food and housing, hospitals, health clinics, grocery stores, and housing markets will suffer. As federal funding to support Pennsylvania families decreases, our economy will suffer and state, local, and charitable resources will strain to meet the needs of all Pennsylvanians.

What you can do:

People across the country are speaking out against the inhumane policy by posting public comments on this cruel regulation. Federal law requires that the government read and consider every unique comment before issuing a final rule. Therefore, these comments can help slow down the process and shape the administration’s decisions. By submitting a comment, you are showing how many people care about this issue. Together, we can force the Trump Administration to have to justify its cruel extreme proposal. We have an opportunity to stop or disrupt this rule change if we come together now and fight back.

orange arrowLeave a comment in the Federal Register by Dec. 10.

orange arrowWant to learn more about public charge in a friendly environment and meet some of the local organizations that are working to help your immigrant neighbors? Join us and our allies at a special event on Monday, Dec. 3 and submit your comments then.

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